A Peek Behind the Veil of Ski Resort Operations

By Patrick Torsell

Paperback: $14.99
eBook: $4.99


READ AN EXCERPT FROM “A Day in the Life of a Ski Resort GM”

eBook Version:
“Every resort employee and manager in America must read it.”

-Dave Esty


Ever wonder what it’s like to operate a snowcat, or even run the whole show as a ski resort General Manager? Get ready to lift the veil on your favorite sport, and discover how every other business venture is made boring in the shadow of the ski resort industry! Snow Guns Before Sunrise will let you in on all the secrets as you walk, and ski, in the boots of ski industry insiders to see what really goes on behind the scenes. Complete with job descriptions, “a-day-in-the-life-of” details, and anecdotes from industry professionals, you’ll discover everything you wanted to know, and then some, about the inner workings of a ski resort. Get a glimpse of the complexity of the ski operation and its many moving parts, and explore the mystique of working in the mountains for the sake of skiing. You’ll learn the metrics by which a ski area measures success, and read about the “unsung heroes” behind the scenes.

For skiers who want to know more about what it takes to deliver their favorite sport to the masses, Snow Guns Before Sunrise answers all the questions that come to mind on a quiet and thoughtful lift ride, or in a spirited online discussion: Why aren’t they making snow on my favorite trail? How is corduroy made? What does it take to be a ski area manager? With these kind of lift ticket prices, ski areas must be flush with cash, right? If they just let me run the place, it would be so much better. Or would it? Snow Guns Before Sunrise is where you’ll find out!

For anyone thinking of a career in the ski industry, Snow Guns Before Sunrise is your primer. Regardless of your particular area of interest in ski area operations, having a big-picture understanding will make you a better employee, and provide you with the insight it takes to get noticed as a potential leader.

For professionals already working in the industry, Snow Guns Before Sunrise offers you a fresh perspective and refines your literacy of different areas of the ski area operation. You’ll catch yourself chuckling as you relate on many levels from your own ski resort experience!

Snow Guns Before Sunrise is the book to read if you like to ski and want to know more about how ski areas actually operate, so boot up and get ready to load the lift that takes you inside the resort operation!

From the Foreword by Dan Torsell:

“Among those of us who have spent significant time working in the operations end of the ski resort business, there is a common sentiment–that it is the most dynamic business in which we have ever been involved.”

From a review by Paul Rauschke:

“The insight Torsell shares is insightful and refreshing and will cause veterans as well as new hires to appreciate and reflect on their role as well as those of their coworkers in these unique ‘communities’. Who should read this book? Here’s your assignment. This book is required reading for: All executives (new or veteran) without operational experience. All new USFS Winter Recreation Specialists (Snow Rangers). All managers whose careers have been limited to 2 departments or less. All employees creating a career in our industry. All lovers of our sport.” –Paul Rauschke, Professor of Ski Area Operations at Colorado Mountain College


Foreword.. Author’s father and 40-year ski industry veteran, Dan Torsell, sets the stage by expressing the fascinating and dynamic nature of the industry.

Preface.. The Author describes his own entry into the industry, and what makes it such a special career.

Chapter One: A City in Miniature.. A ski resort is a complex operation, akin to an entire city. Find out how many pieces need to come together to complete the ski area puzzle.

Chapter Two: The General Manager.. Discover what being the big boss of a ski resort is all about, then dive into a “Day in the Life of a Ski Resort GM.”

Chapter Three: The Executive Team.. Learn the senior management roles that lead and manage ski resort departments.

Chapter Four: Grooming.. Read about the history, art, and science of snow grooming, then jump into the operator’s seat for “A Night in the Life of a Swing Shift Groomer.”

Chapter Five: Snowmaking.. Find out the origins of snowmaking, and learn about the complex air and water delivery systems, along with the different types of snowmaking guns. Then grab your headlamp and gloves and dive into a “Night in the Life of a Snowmaker.”

Chapter Six: Ski Patrol.. If you think Ski Patrollers are the heroes who just ski all day and save lives, Chapter Six will show you that there’s just a little more to it!

Chapter Seven: Lift Maintenance.. Learn about the basic components of ski lifts, and what it takes to keep them in tip-top shape.

Chapter Eight: Unsung Heroes.. Behind all of the glamorous executive roles and the fanciful departments is a dedicated crew of “Unsung Heroes” who really make the ski resort experience possible. See what they do, and how important they really are.

Chapter Nine: Measuring Up.. Ski resorts should be about skiing. But in order to sustain the skiing, they must be successful businesses. Take a look at some of the important metrics and KPIs by which ski resorts measure success.

Afterword.. The ski industry is the best industry in the world. It’s still possible to be financially successful and have a blast running ski resorts.